Across Boston Thursday, officials, athletes and residents are remembering former Mayor Thomas Menino who passed away at the age of 71 after a battle with cancer.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh left Menino’s Hyde Park home after visiting wife Angela and the rest of the family. Walsh offered words of comfort for the people who feel the city’s loss in a most personal way.
“You know just a personal conversation. We had a chat with the family,” Walsh said. “”I’d ask all the people of Boston, Massachusetts and the country to keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they go through a difficult next few days.”
Gov. Deval Patrick recalled Menino’s uncommon connection with the people he served.
“He was very personal about his leadership. He was very personal about the city and he understood that because he was with people and listening to people,” Patrick said.
President Obama released a statement that read in part, “Michelle and I were saddened to hear of the passing of Tom Menino. Bold, big-hearted, and Boston strong, Tom was the embodiment of the city he loved and led for more than two decades.”
Some of those he led for more than two decades visited Boston City Hall at night and throughout the day to sign the condolence book or leave flowers.
One man choked up recalling how he met Mayor Menino as a young boy.
“It’s just, I don’t know why he means so much,” the man said. “He was just so proud to be a Bostonian and so am I.”
City Councillor Tito Jackson fought back tears as well. Jackson recalled how Menino once invited him into his home when Jackson was alone for the holidays and later taught the councillor how to be a public servant.
“Tom Menino’s life made a difference, it made a difference to me, but there’s a whole bunch of folks he made a difference to,” he said.
Mayor Walsh remembered how Tom Menino’s first and last advice to him as mayor was always put the people first.
“Tom Menino was a fighter, Tom Menino went down a fighter and we all know where Boston stood in his heart, number one.”